Any time is a good time to get a financial advisor, says Dawn Marchand, vice-president of marketing and direct distribution for CBIA/Lawyers Financial. “I firmly believe everyone could benefit from working with a professional advisor,” Marchand tells AdvocateDaily.com.
And the statistics back her up, with one study showing that advised investors accumulated almost four times as many assets compared to non-advised investors over a 15-year period, after adjusting for socioeconomic and attitudinal differences.
Marchand says one of the main barriers for many consumers is a lack of confidence about their ability to ask advisors the right questions.
“It seems like a silly rationale because the very reason you need an advisor is that you don’t know anything. As a result, step one is to educate yourself, even if it’s just about the basics,” she says. “It can be as simple as getting a book on the subject, or speaking to family and friends,” Marchand says, noting that changing social norms work in potential investors’ favour.
“Twenty or 30 years ago, money was a topic that was verboten. Now people are much more open to talking about it and their plans for the future,” she says. “Start having those conversations to determine what questions you should ask.”
Marchand says a great time for lawyers and others to make that leap and consult a financial advisor is whenever they need a specific piece of advice — even on relatively simple financial matters. For example, she says many young people wonder about the relative merits of registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs).
“For many years, people have been told RRSPs are the way to go, and they are a great investment vehicle,” Marchand says. “But sometimes it can be better for younger people to contribute to a TFSA first, and save their RRSP room for a time in the future when their income may be larger and the tax deduction more valuable.”
In addition, Marchand says certain life or professional events should trigger lawyers to seek professional help with their money. “If you’re opening a solo practice, you may want to talk about risk-management options, which include life and disability insurance,” she says. “When you’re starting to think about retiring, that’s another important trigger.”
Lawyers have a particular incentive to seek professional financial advice, rather than muddling through it alone on their own time, Marchand says. “A lawyer’s time can be considered more valuable than most,” she says. “You have to ask yourself where it can be better spent: making financial decisions that could be left to a trusted advisor, or actually being a lawyer and advancing your career and income?”
The advisors at Lawyers Financial can also offer second opinions to lawyers on their existing investments and financial decisions, Marchand says.